Posts for tag: oral hygiene
If you’ve ever heard your dentist or hygienist talk about “calculus,” they’re not referring to a higher branch of mathematics. The calculus on your teeth is something altogether different.
Calculus, also called tartar, is dental plaque that’s become hardened or “calcified” on tooth surfaces. Plaque begins as soft food particles and bacteria that accumulate on the teeth, and more so if you don’t properly clean your teeth every day. This built-up plaque becomes both home and food source for bacteria that can cause tooth decay or periodontal (gum) disease.
Because of this direct link between plaque and/or calculus and dental disease, we encourage everyone to perform two important oral hygiene tasks every day. The first is to floss between your teeth to remove plaque as you are unable to effectively reach those areas with a toothbrush. Once you loosen all the plaque, the other really important task is a thorough brushing of all of the tooth surfaces to remove any plaque that may have accumulated since the last brushing. Doing so every day will catch most of the softer plaque before it becomes calcified.
Once it forms, calculus is impossible to remove by brushing and flossing alone. That’s why you should have regular cleanings performed by a dental professional. Dentists and hygienists have special tools called scalers that allow them to manually remove plaque and calculus, as well as ultrasonic equipment that can vibrate it loose to be flushed away with water.
In fact, you should undergo dental cleanings at least twice a year (or as often as your dentist recommends) even if you religiously brush and floss daily. Calculus forms so easily that it’s nearly inevitable you’ll accumulate some even if you have an effective hygiene regimen. Your dental team can remove hardened deposits of calculus that may have gotten past your own hygiene efforts.
If you haven’t been consistently practicing this kind of daily hygiene, see your dentist to get a fresh start. Not only will they be able to check for any emerging problems, they can clean your teeth of any plaque and calculus buildup so that you’ll be able to start with a “clean” slate.
Calculus can be tenacious, but it not impossible to remove. Don’t let it set you up for an unhealthy experience with your teeth and gums.
A couple of years ago the Associated Press published an article claiming the health benefits of flossing remained unproven. The article cited a number of studies that seemed to conclude the evidence for the effectiveness of flossing in helping to prevent dental disease as “weak.”
As you can imagine, dental providers were a bit chagrined while flossers everywhere threw away their dental floss and happily declared their independence from their least favorite hygiene task. It would have seemed the Age of Flossing had gone the way of the dinosaurs.
But, the demise of flossing may have been greatly exaggerated. A new study from the University of North Carolina seems to contradict the findings cited in the AP article. This more recent study looked at dental patients in two groups—those who flossed and those who didn’t—during two periods of five and ten years respectively. The new study found conclusively that the flosser group on average had a lower risk of tooth loss than the non-flossers.
While this is an important finding, it may not completely put the issue to rest. But assuming it does, let’s get to the real issue with flossing: a lot of people don’t like it, for various reasons. It can be time-consuming; it can be messy; and, depending on a person’s physical dexterity, difficult to perform.
On the latter, there are some things you can do to make it a less difficult task. You can use a floss threader, a device that makes it easier to thread the floss through the teeth. You can also switch to an oral irrigator or “water flosser,” a pump device that sprays a fine, pressurized stream of water to break up plaque between teeth and flush most of it away. We can also give you tips and training for flossing with just your fingers and thread.
But whatever you do, don’t give up the habit. It may not be your most favorite hygiene task but most dentists agree it can help keep your teeth healthy for the long-term.
What your dentists in East Hartford want you to know
Are you wondering if your child’s brushing habits are enough to prevent tooth decay and other dental problems? It’s good to be concerned about your child’s oral hygiene, but the good news is you and your child can do a lot to prevent unnecessary dental problems and the pain associated with them. Drs. Allan and Jenny Kwon at Prestige Dental Network in East Hartford, CT, want to share the facts about what your child’s oral hygiene habits should look like.
The truth is decay can affect even very small children. The minute the first tooth begins to erupt your child is at risk for tooth decay. The first visit to your dentist is a vital step in preventing dental problems and your child’s first dental visit should be before they are 1 year old.
Your child should be taught to brush at an early age. There are many handy kid-friendly toothbrushes available, including sonic and electric toothbrushes. You should teach your child to brush after meals and before bedtime, using a gentle, circular motion to clean all the surfaces of the teeth and gently along the gumline. Always use a toothpaste containing fluoride to strengthen tooth enamel, but instruct your child not to swallow the toothpaste.
Brushing doesn’t clean between the teeth; that’s where flossing comes in. There are many flossing tools available in kid-friendly shapes to help your child want to floss. You can teach your child to begin to floss at around the age of 4, and your child should be flossing independently at around the age of 8. Have your child wrap the floss around the widest part of the tooth surface in between each tooth. This wrapping action ensures the floss stays against the tooth surface.
One of the most important things you can do as a parent is to set a good example for your child by brushing and flossing too. Make sure your child sees you practicing good oral hygiene habits, and your child will want to do what you do.
For more detailed information about children’s dentistry, please visit the Pediatric Dentistry page on the website at http://www.prestigedentalnetwork.com/library/7730/PediatricDentistry.html
Your dentist and dental hygienist want to partner with you to help you care for your child’s smile. Get started by calling Drs. Allan and Jenny Kwon at Prestige Dental Network in East Hartford, CT. Call today!
What do a teenager with a poor bite, a senior citizen with multiple missing teeth or a middle-aged person with a teeth grinding habit all have in common? They may all depend on a dental appliance for better function or appearance.
There’s a wide variety of removable dental appliances like clear aligners or retainers for orthodontic treatment, dentures for tooth loss or night guards to minimize teeth grinding, just to name a few. But while different, they all share a common need: regular cleaning and maintenance to prevent them from triggering dental disease and to keep them functioning properly.
The first thing to remember about appliance cleaning is that it’s not the same as regular oral hygiene, especially if you have dentures. While they look like real teeth, they’re not. Toothpaste is a no-no because the abrasives in toothpaste designed for tooth enamel can scratch appliance surfaces. These microscopic scratches can develop havens for disease-causing bacteria.
Instead, use liquid dish detergent, hand soap or a specific cleaner for your appliance with a different brush from your regular toothbrush or a specialized tool for your particular appliance. Use warm but not very hot or boiling water: while heat indeed kills bacteria, the hot temperatures can warp the plastic in the appliance and distort its fit. You should also avoid bleach—while also a bacteria killer, it can fade out the gum color of appliance bases.
Be sure you exercise caution while cleaning your appliance. For example, place a towel in the sink basin so if the appliance slips from your hands it’s less likely to break hitting the soft towel rather than the hard sink. And while out of your mouth, be sure you store your appliance out of reach of small children and pets to avoid the chance of damage.
Cleaning and caring for your appliance reduces the risk of disease that might affect your gums or other natural teeth. It will also help keep your appliance working as it was designed for some time to come.
What your dentists in East Hartford, Hartford, and Meriden want you to know
If you aren’t brushing and flossing as often as you should, it’s never too late to start. So, what’s the big deal about brushing and flossing? The fact is keeping good oral hygiene habits including brushing and flossing will help you enjoy a healthy, beautiful smile for life.
Your dentists at Prestige Dental Network want to share how and why you should keep good oral hygiene habits. They have several convenient office locations in East Hartford, Hartford, and Meriden, CT, to serve your dental needs.
The goal of your good oral hygiene program is to remove plaque as thoroughly and frequently as you can. That’s because plaque contains millions of microscopic bacteria that produce toxic by-products which can destroy your smile. The toxins are responsible for tooth decay, gum, and periodontal disease and can cause loss of soft tissue, bone destruction, and tooth loss.
You can do a lot to prevent dental problems by starting a good oral hygiene program, which should include:
Brushing after meals and before you go to sleep; use a soft-bristled toothbrush and clean all tooth surfaces using a gentle, circular motion. Also gently clean along the gumline, but remember not to use a lot of pressure or you can irritate your gums. You can also use an electric or sonic toothbrush if you prefer.
Flossing daily; you can use either unwaxed or waxed floss or floss picks if you prefer. You need to floss because brushing doesn’t get in between your teeth. That’s often where tooth decay, gum, and periodontal disease begin. As you floss, remember to wrap around each tooth as you go down in between teeth. This wrapping action ensures the floss stays against the side of your tooth and cleans effectively.
Regular visits to your dentist each year, and dental hygienist every six months are vital to take care of your smile, because you can’t do it alone. Your dentists at Prestige Dental Network use state-of-the-art diagnostic technology including digital x-rays, intraoral cameras, and lasers to monitor the health of your smile.
Your dental hygienist will thoroughly clean your teeth free of hard and soft deposits, polish your teeth, and give you all the necessary tools and information for your good oral hygiene program.
To learn more about how to keep your smile healthy and beautiful and other dental topics, call Prestige Dental Network, with offices in East Hartford, Hartford, and Meriden, CT. Call today!